22nd May2020

‘Edge of Extinction’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke Hobson, Georgie Smibert, Chris Kaye, Bryn Hodgen, Nicholas Chambers, Susan Lee Burton, Neil Summerville, Richard Summers-Calvert, Rudy Barrow, Eve Kathryn Oliver | Written and Directed by Andrew Gilbert

Filmed in a suitably grim and grey aesthetic, Edge of Extinction is set 15 years after a global apocalypse, with mankind is on the verge of extinction. Civilisation no longer exists, food is scarce and most eke out a living by stealing and killing. One man clings onto life in the desolate British countryside, where staying away from others has been key to his survival. But this self-imposed isolation comes to an abrupt end when he crosses paths with another group of survivors and faces an enemy far more savage than any of them could have imagined.

Edge of Extinction has had quite the journey to the screen, with a 3 year journey from start to finish for writer/director Andrew Gilbert, and to be fair to the film it doesn’t show. Especially considering the disjointed nature of the production – apparently the entire film was shot on weekends in 2017 and 2018 across Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire… Yes, we’re in British sci-fi-come-horror territory.

I say sci-fi-come-horror as Gilbert films starts out feeling very much like something of a kitchen sink drama set in an apocalyptic scorched-earth style future before unleashing more the typical tropes of post-apocalyptic horror – including vicious killers and cannibals. However the film begins very much by focusing on the tensions between people and the idea of “survival by any means”, arguing, infighting and selfishness – all traits you could say we’re seeing in the bizarre pandemic situation we’re in today!

In fact the release of Edge of Extinction couldn’t have come at a more prescient time, the film somehow reflecting the early stages of the global pandemic: pamic-buying, stock-piling etc; only here people who have stock-piled are a target for those without anything, the kind of Lord of the Flies savagery we’ve seen a million times before in these types of genre films. Only here Gilbert takes this to extremes – showing how quickly (if you can call 15 years quick) people descend into primitive madness, putting “things”, in this case food, shelter etc., over people and society as a whole.

Sound familiar? It should do – there’s a real Mad Max vibe to Edge of Extinction, with a vicious gang out to plunder, rape, murder and eat (yes, the film hints of a cannibalistic future for some of us!) anything and anyone in their path, much like the motorcycle gang of George Miller’s apocalyptic masterpiece. Only with a little more British reserve!

And that’s the thing. Despite the flurries of violence; the notion of people used as objects; the sheer descent in self-preservation at any cost, society be damned and the hints of cannibalism; Edge of Extinction is just too reserved, too British to have a real impact. In the hands of the Italians this would’ve been an insane journey into post-apocalyptic madness. In Gilbert’s hands we’re presented with a sombre, yet suitably grim, look at life in a possible post-nuclear wasteland, one that sadly, for me, spends too much time talking and not enough time doing. And at over 2 hours long that makes watching Edge of Extinction something of a slog.

Edge of Extinction is available on Digital Download now and comes to DVD on July 18th courtesy of Lightbulb Distribution.

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